It’s been ages since I copped a good solid flame.
I mean we get personal abuse from racist scum all the time for not publishing their vile comments, and then there’s the regular crazies wishing lingering agonising death for having rattled the cages in their minds.
But this, this is something different. Something special.
I respect freedom of speech, however I find it incredibly distasteful that writers of this site, specifically Johnboy, can write such disgusting, judgemental and fundamentally incorrect statements regarding what happened after the car accident that claimed the life of my brother, Steven Rial and Megan Minney, and seriously injured Rochelle Taylor.
Perhaps it was my mistake to Google my brother’s name. Maybe it’s something that no one who ever loses someone should do, for fear of seeing such insensitive things. Regardless of my mistake, I think the judgement and disrespect displayed on this site is reprehensible and someone should be ashamed of themselves.
Allow me to set the record straight, just in case anyone actually cares about the truth before they condemn people. My father was at the accident site, nine weeks after the accident, clearing the tree and the surrounding area of loose decorations and rubbish that well-meaning and grieving, but perhaps slightly foolish, people had left behind. The owner of the house came out to speak to him. My father apologised for the amount of decorations and such that hung around the guy’s property and assured him that the area would be cleared of all memorial decorations and they agreed that a permanent memorial would be erected at some point. But being only two month since the accident, we were all still a bit raw. None of us were back at work yet and we had never met the Minney family. My mother and I had never been to the crash site and had no inclination to do so at any point in the near future. My father explained all of this to the house owner before they went their separate ways.
The next day the police phoned us to say that the tree had been stripped of the flowers and photos by order of the house owner and were available for us to collect from the station. My family had just been to the crematorium to collect Steve’s ashes and so, emotional and shocked, we made our way to the station and met the Minney’s for the first time. It was not the way that anyone wanted to meet but we were forced into something that we weren’t ready for.
Johnboy says that we were “a mob who hounded the family” for not turning their lives into a permanent memorial to our loved ones. The only problem we had with them was that my father had assured the house owner that we would deal with all the stuff at the crash site and asked for his patience in the matter since we were all still very much in shock. The house owner didn’t have the decency to inform us that he had already called the rangers to pull the stuff down. Either that, or he called them after the conversation with my grieving father. Whichever it was, it was incredibly hurtful and that was the only issue that we ever had with him. As far as I’m aware, none of the family members ever spoke to him after that. None of us ever abused him or his family or did anything to suggest that we “hounded” him. I’m aware that some friends of the kids acted stupidly, but both my family and the Minney’s told them off about it. We were angry and hurt, but we weren’t homicidal maniacs, a
s it appears some people believed us to be. In fact, I think someone in the comments section even quoted a post I left on the Facebook page where I tried to calm people down.
This all happened nine weeks after the accident. You might think that nine weeks is too long, but the last four years have gone by in a blink of an eye. I still see my brother lying in hospital dying in my dreams, while people run around and judge me as a heartless bogan. Maybe you could try to put yourself in our shoes. Our families had lost something so precious to us. At six months after the accident, I was still crying myself to sleep. Nine weeks was barely enough time to become functional.
I don’t know what I’m asking you for here. I’m not suggestion you should take down your ridiculous, accusatory attempts at reporting the news. I’m not saying you should post an apology. Maybe all I’m saying is that you’re lucky that you’ve never had to deal with losing someone, as clearly you haven’t because no one who has ever felt this kind of pain would treat someone else with such disregard. However, we all will lose people someday. Maybe when it happen to you, you will deal with it in such a dignified fashion that you will put us all to shame. But if it does happen to you, then you will know that everyone grieves differently and as inexplicable as people’s behaviour may be during that time, it doesn’t mean that they deserve to have people judging and commenting on their lives, suggesting that they are “bogans” and that somehow, they deserve what is happening to them.
Perhaps when you next write about a grieving family going through an unimaginably tragic time, you might do well to remember that you have no right to pass judgement and you should put your claws away. There is a difference between pithy journalism and being an insensitive jackass.